I am a fan of the West Harbour Winter series conducted in the area between Goat Island to the east and Schnapper and Spectacle Islands to the west. This is our second season and with every race the crew is more comfortable with launching and retrieving our big red white and blue spinnaker and in gybing it downwind.

Today was a typical event conducted in a light westerly breeze well below the forecast fifteen knots. Both our yacht instruments and the weather bureau seem to agree it was about seven knots at the good times.

We started near the boat and gave way to yachts that by rights we should have forced into the committee boat. For our efforts one crossed early and was disqualified for not returning but we had to eat the dirty air up the first work. The breeze swung to the right favouring the more northerly positioned yachts and that was not us so we had to tack away from the lifts on two occasions which do not look pretty on the chart plot of our course. As the day went on the breeze swung more to the north so the second work along the Hunters Hill shore was a single beat compared to the zig zag tracks of the first work.

Our tracks around the second heat of the West Harbour Winter series

Our tracks around the second heat of the West Harbour Winter series

The fun bits were flying the spinnaker around Schnapper Island and then carrying it tight along the Balmain shore.

Our twilight competitors Saorise and French Connections were left well behind on the first work and I assume they did not have spinnakers flying by the look of the elapsed times. A few light weight flyers from the blue division caught us and Gwhizz took a minute out of our time in conditions that suited them. The J 70 caught us on the downwind legs but we managed to stay with them from Goat Island all the way back to the finish line.

The last run to the shortened course finish line was very square and our big symmetric spinnaker worked better than the asymmetric on the J 70 as the conditions were too light for her to get up and plane.

Our sixth place on handicap was pleasing as was our elapsed time compared to our regular competition.

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